I just finished reading the article, “The forgotten children of Africa: Voicing HIV and Aids orphans’ stories of bereavement: a narrative approach” and I must say that it was quite impacting. The article is basically about young children who have lost their parents to HIV or AIDS and the stories that they tell about how their parents died. Since these children are so young, they don’t fully understand the concept of this dire disease and so they associate their deaths to other realistic causes such as being viciously attacked by a lion. Researchers and psychologists interpret the kinds of stories that these children tell as a subliminal way of expressing remorse, fear, sadness, and confusion that they do not know how to express in any other way. Storytelling is with no doubt a crucial factor to this article because these children use it as a means to express themselves. As mentioned before, because these children are too young to comprehend the concept of such a disease, they do not understand exactly why and how their parents abruptly left them. Therefore, they must tell us their story of how they interpret the events that have unfolded before them, and with their stories, researches can understand the psychological impact that has been bestowed upon them.
The component of all of these stories allows the reader to understand that all of these children are suffering from the same grief. Their stories are ones that include a powerful animal attacking the evil animal (HIV or AIDS) and becoming victorious in the end by killing the evil animal that took the lives of their parents. This goes to show that they want to get rid of whatever shamelessly left them orphans and they are haunted by the feelings of worry, loneliness, and the loss of paternal love. They also fear that this evil monster might sweep them off the face of the Earth as well. Thus, their stories serve as a sort of catharsis for them and provide us with feedback of how losing a parent to HIV or AIDS affects a child, making their stories extremely vital.
I was surprised at how well the stories make the reader better understand the way these children feel and it was extremely interesting to see how the emotions that these children feel towards the loss of their parents are directly portrayed in their fictional stories. This story brought back a lot of memories of when I went to an orphanage that was solely for children who were infected with AIDS that were transmitted to them by their parents and who had lost their parents because of it. Most of these children were no older than 5 years of age and it was really great to see them behaving and playing like regular toddlers. However, it was also very sad and depressing to think that these kids would probably not live very long due to their disease and would not live the full life they deserve. It is not their fault that they were infected, but sadly, they will have to pay for their parents’ selfish mistake.